On Decentering From Paranoia: Do Cognitive Fusion and Self-Compassion Mediate the Relationship between Paranoia and Distress?

Authors: Bolderston, H., Newman Taylor, K. and Deveson, C.

Conference: ACBS/BABCP ACT/CBS UK and Ireland Conference

Dates: 4-5 December 2014


Psychosis is often severely distressing and disabling. Psychotic symptoms also predict distress in the general population. In order to support people’s wellbeing and recovery, we need to understand the processes that mediate psychotic phenomena and distress, and target these in therapy. ACT assumes that it is our relationship to paranoia and voices that predicts emotional and behavioural consequences. This symposium examines these relationships and the implications for therapy.

Jess Kingston presents an experimental investigation of the effect of values-affirmation on state paranoia. There is a paucity of research investigating factors that alleviate paranoia in the general population. In social psychology, a substantial literature documents the benefits of reflecting on core and cherished values. This study used an experimental design to determine whether values-affirmation attenuates paranoid thinking in a student sample.

Helen Bolderston and Tabby Rothwell examine the role of cognitive fusion and self-compassion in paranoia and hallucinatory experience. General population samples completed measures of psychotic-type experience, cognitive fusion, self-compassion and distress. Mediational analyses yielded medium and large effect sizes, suggesting that the degree to which we fuse with paranoid cognition or hallucinatory experience, and respond with self-compassion, predicts distress.

Finally, Emma O’Donoghue reports on a pilot RCT of ACT workshops for people with psychosis and their caregivers. Psychological flexibility has been shown to have an important role in the maintenance and alleviation of distressing psychosis. The ACT for Recovery project examines the feasibility and effectiveness of ACT workshops in community settings. We highlight the burden of caring for people with psychosis, and the practicalities of running the groups. The results of the trial are described, and recommendations made for clinicians who would like to replicate the workshops.

Source: Manual

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